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Woman killed by alligator while doing homeowner's nails

3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago Tuesday, May 05 2020 May 5, 2020 May 05, 2020 3:16 PM May 05, 2020 in News
Source: ABC News
Alligator image by US Air Force

COLUMBIA, SC- Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, many have resorted to at-home salon services as non-essential businesses have closed. A woman in South Carolina was attacked and killed by an alligator in a gated community while attempting to do the homeowner's nails on Friday.

Authorities say 58-year-old Cynthia Covert was trying to touch the alligator when it grabbed her. She was able to briefly get out of the animal's grip and stood waist-deep in the Kiawah Island pond.

She told the homeowner, "I guess I won't do this again," but the alligator grabbed her in its jaws again and took her under, according to police reports.

Covert died of drowning before Charleston County deputies and firefighters were able to shoot and kill the alligator. They used poles to get her out of the pond, authorities say.

The homeowner told deputies Covert was professional in her salon but was relaxed and excited at her home. She also said Covert brought wine with her that she was drinking throughout her visit. 

While working on the porch, Covert saw the alligator and took photos of it. The woman and her husband that live at the residence screamed for her to get away from the alligator as they saw it grab a deer a few days prior, deputies said.

According to the report, Covert said, "I don't look like a deer," and reached to touch the animal when it attacked.

The husband and neighbor threw Covert a rope and she was able to stand in the pond. After stating she would not do that again, she was pulled under again, according to the report.

Deputies and firefighters searched for Colvert for 10 minutes before her body surfaced. When the alligator surfaced again, a deputy shot the animal in the head with a 9 mm handgun.

While Covert's leg was severely damaged, an autopsy determined she drowned, the Charleston County Coroner's Office said.

In the past four years, three people have been killed by alligators in South Carolina. 

Kiawah Island Mayor Craig Weaver called Covert's death "a terrible tragedy."

"We live closely with nature on this island. An alligator caused death is exceedingly rare and has not happened on our island before to my knowledge," Weaver said in a statement Sunday. "We know that we must act responsibly and with care around these animals. Consequently, it will be important to know and to share with the community the facts and circumstances from this tragedy, so we can avoid experiencing anything like this again," Weaver said.

Before 2016, the state did not have any alligator-related deaths recorded.

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